Astronomers explain planets’ backward motion

Astronomers explain planets’ backward motion

Unseen giants may be flipping orbits of Jupiter-sized worlds

By Andrew Grant, 12:59 PM November 1, 2013

They’re hot, they’re huge and they move the wrong way. In the rapidly growing catalog of planets found outside the solar system, about a dozen Jupiter-sized ones tightly circle their stars in the wrong direction. Now scientists have come up with an explanation for these wrong-way worlds that should help astronomers better understand how planets interact and might even lead to the discovery of more exoplanets.

Scientists believe they have a pretty good handle on how planets form. When a star is...

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